How Sallie Mae Prepares Students to Pay Back Their Loans

Financial Literacy

After years of studying and working hard, millions of college graduates across the nation are transitioning from college to the next chapter of their lives. This could mean new jobs, new cities, or new goals — a cause for celebration. 

Even after students finish college, the learning doesn’t stop. Next on the syllabus is setting and maintaining a healthy budget, and for those who borrowed to pay for college (41% of students, according to our “How America Pays for College 2023” report), that budget will soon include paying back student loans.

To ensure students get started on the right track, Sallie Mae® works to remove the element of surprise from loan payments by initiating clear communication with students and cosigners while they’re in school and throughout the life of their loans. As a responsible private lender, we believe that transparency and clarity about how much students and families owe and when they need to pay back their loans is critical to helping them responsibly plan for higher education. 

Staying up to date on student loan status

Students have very busy schedules, which is why we make it as easy as possible for them to stay up to date on the status of their loans. Students can create an online account or download the Sallie mobile app to get notifications of when their upcoming payments are due. They can even enroll in auto-debit to ensure their payments are always on time, which can also save them money by lowering their interest rate.

We also send students and their cosigners a loan summary each year they are in school, including interest accrued. This is especially important for customers who choose to defer payments on their loan during college, as it helps them keep track of what they’ve borrowed and what they owe. That said, roughly half of our customers choose to make a fixed payment or pay interest on their loans while in school, which can significantly lower the total cost of the loan.

Tools and tips for the six-month separation period

Sallie Mae private student loans come with a six-month separation or grace period for undergraduate programs that begins once a student leaves school, giving them time to find a job and get settled into post-college life. We let students know at the start of their grace period what their estimated payment amount will be and provide tips on when, where, and how to pay on time.

We also offer free tools to help students prepare for repayment, such as a monthly budget worksheet, which helps students create a budget to meet their financial goals and our student loan repayment calculator that gives students an estimate for their upcoming monthly payments.

At the end of the day, preparation is key to responsible financial planning. From the moment students take out a loan through the months post-graduation, we help students and families not only meet their loan payments, but make strides toward their financial goals.